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$756.8M county budget adopted unanimously

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

The county Legislature unanimously adopted a $756.8 million budget for 2023. Courtesy of Pexels

ALBANY — The Albany County Legislature unanimously adopted the 2023 county budget Dec. 5.

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy first presented the proposed $756.8 million budget to the Legislature in early October, with a levy of $99,752,250 to be raised by taxes.

Under the budget, homeowners pay a county tax rate of $3.16 for every $1,000 of the equalized value of their property, representing a slight decrease in the tax rate.

“This budget that was passed unanimously tonight represents many things,” Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy said. “It is a demonstration of our priorities, a blueprint for the path forward, a promise to our residents, and an illustration of how we can work together, across the aisle to improve lives in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Over the past eight years, county tax rates have declined, he added.

“Since 2014, we’ve cut our equalized tax rate by nearly 20%, giving Albany County the ninth lowest rate in the entire state, ensuring this is a more affordable place to live, work and raise a family,” McCoy said.

The 2023 budget shows a small decrease in the tax rate but does not cut services or programs.

“We are maintaining and improving the programs and services that so many rely on each day, while investing millions into renewable energy projects through the STAGE Act and additional economic development initiatives,” McCoy said. “I want to thank the county Legislature — notably Chairman Andrew Joyce, Deputy Chairwoman Wanda Willingham, Majority Leader Dennis Feeney and Minority Leader Frank Mauriello — for their partnership throughout the budget process as we continue to deliver on behalf of the county.”

STAGE Act — Sustainable, Technology and Green Energy Act — initiatives were allocated roughly $4 million to improve the quality of life for people who live and work in Albany County, according to the Legislature.

The budget focuses on economic development and creating a framework that will be sustainable in the years to come, according to county legislators.

“The 2023 budget makes it clear that Albany County is not only looking for new and innovative ways to help our communities and residents thrive, but is also bringing these plans to fruition,” said Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce. “The Legislature’s wide-reaching and comprehensive investments mean continued economic growth locally and essential programming for youth and historically underserved communities.”

The budget includes $250,000 in funding for the Advanced Albany County Alliance, which was formed in 2020 and focuses on attracting and retaining businesses, and workforce development. An additional $20,000 is built into the budget to establish a countywide beverage trail to support existing craft beverage businesses in the county and attract tourists and customers to the area, according to the Legislature.

Efforts continue to make Albany a film destination through a partnership with Discover Albany and its marketing and advertising initiatives.

Recreational efforts and programming support seek to improve services for the county’s youth.

“We know that certain neighborhoods have been historically underserved, which directly impacts youth and their ability to thrive,” said Audit and Finance Chairwoman Wanda Willingham. “This funding allows the county to support and partner with boots-on-the-ground community organizations that have a unique ability to effect positive change.”

Legislature Majority Leader Dennis Feeney said the budget is responsible and invests in the county’s future.

“Once again, Albany County is providing a balanced budget that ensures financial stability while addressing the needs of our residents and businesses,” Feeney said. “I am proud to support this budget that also includes various investments to ensure our future growth but doesn’t raise taxes.”

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